Helping the HEMP Party

In this weeks tutorial, we were asked to design an ‘outsider’political campaign for a micro-party in this year’s Federal Election. The micro-party that will be presented in my ‘campaign’ is the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party, simply for the reason that social media has been on the case of the Australian government to legalise the drug.

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A few months ago, the Australian Government legalised medical marijuana, with a bill passing through parliament to allow those who suffer from chronic illness, to partake in using the drug.

Some of the questions that come to mind when creating a campaign is what do you need to consider, what kind of symbols do you reach for and which voters do you target and how you target them.

What do you need to consider?

This micro-party and this campaign may come across as controversial to particular people in society, whether it be from religious parties or the media. So one thing that should be considered is to make sure that the campaign isn’t presented as offensive.

Other things needed to consider is what tools that need to be used to promote this campaign and the resources available.

What kind of symbols do you reach for?

Within particular communities and societies, there are usually a range of symbols or words that are used amongst members of that community.

Which voters do you target? How?

Social media has allowed those with similar interests communicate and connect with one another. With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram having dedicated pages to particular activities and events, even where you can like a page to which country you live in, allowing you to connect to those around you.

The voters that would be targeted in this campaign would be those who ‘like’ particular pages that promote marijuana use in Australia, through a series of social media posts ranging in different forms such as videos, posters and the occasional dank meme.

Slacktivism: Is it worth the effort?

Identified as the act of showing support for a cause but only truly being beneficial to the egos of people participating in this so-called activism. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. Websites are now integrating social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook into their website interface to allow people to like, share and tweet an interesting topic without using any effort.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Bring Back Our Girls and the Kony 2012 are examples where simply clicking like or share made people feel good about helping the world by demonstrating their support for these causes. However, in reality, their likes, shares and retweets are only bringing this issues to light but not doing anything to solve the issue.

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According to Yu-Hao Lee and Gary Hsieh at Michigan State University, with their paper, ‘Does Slacktivism Hurt Activism?: The Effects of Moral Balancing and Consistency in Online Activism,’ they define slacktivism as “low-risk, low-cost activity via social media whose purpose is to raise awareness, produce change, or grant satisfaction to the person engaged in the activity.”

There is nothing wrong in posting, sharing and liking videos and articles. Bringing to light these issues may aggregate an active campaign, but without action, the impact is insignificant.

Celebrities and Their Influence Over the Fashion Industry

Media consumes our lives through its multifaceted features. Whether it be through social media and the internet, or the variety of television programs that are available to the general public, the media can have an effect on our lives. With celebrity journalism becoming more popular with today’s society, coverage on all the biggest stars has increased along with the development of modern technology. Celebrities are now featured in all forms of media, and have an effect on consumers, whether it be through the brands they are sporting or the food their eating, celebrities influence our society. In the fashion industry, celebrities have been trend setting for decades, but with the increase in social media and celebrity coverage in the recent years, to what extent do celebrities influence today’s fashion industry?

This topic became of interest to me when I stumbled upon an article relating to Kanye West’s ‘Yeezy’ sneakers, where Kanye and Adidas, the brand that is helping Kanye manufacture and create the shoe, were losing profit even though they sold out in every shop where the sneakers had been made available. So how come they were losing all this money? Well, when a person would go and purchase these sneakers for the retail price of $280 AUD/ $200 USD, they could resell the sneaker at quadruple the value, with the sneakers now costing over $1000. This ultimately resulted in resellers making more than Kanye and Adidas, the original manufacturers of the sneaker. But what was the cause of these sneakers skyrocketing in value? It was down to the fact that not only were they a limited sneaker, but the fact that this shoe was the idea of Kanye West, who is easily considered one of the most famous celebrities in the world today.

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After reading this article, I was intrigued and continued to find more articles and academic readings that discussed the influence celebrities have over society and its fashion choices. With this extensive research of the product, I uncovered more information about the relationship between celebrities and fashion. “The relationship between celebrities and fashion may become symbiotic; brands benefit from the attention celebrities bring them… but also enhance their own reputations thanks to their association” (Wigley, 2015).

To clothing brands, celebrities are the perfect outlet to endorse their products, knowing that with social media having a strong influence in people’s lives, that their product will likely be seen by large amounts of people. “Celebrities, with their pervasive media coverage and popular associations with notions of glamour, success and attractiveness, are natural partners for fashion brands seeking to convey attractive lifestyle affiliations and hence tap into consumers’ liking for easily understood archetypes in advertising.” (Carroll, 2009)

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This research project is going to try and answer the question of the extent that celebrities influence today’s fashion industry. To answer this question, I will tap into my social media connections with sneaker collectors from within the university as well as using in person and online surveys with university students to gain an understanding into how much celebrities influence our society’s fashion choices. After collecting a sufficient amount of evidence from surveys as well as using the extensive research of academic readings and even economic figures in regards to sneaker resale values, I will compose a research report that I believe will have efficient findings and provide a more personal perception into the way modern technology and digital media has allowed celebrities to have an influence on our personal choices when it comes to fashion.

Celebrity endorsements have been a strong marketing strategy since the late 1920s, where companies utilise a celebrities fame and popularity to gain an increase in consumers. The earliest recorded celebrity endorsement was by Lucky Strike cigarettes in 1928 where they utilised actor Al Jones quick rise to fame to promote their brand of cigarettes. With the success that the endorsement accumulated, companies began to use more and more celebrities to endorse their products, ranging from food to fashion.

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This lead to companies having groups of celebrities, ranging from all types of fame, from sport stars to actors to musicians, covering all aspects of society. As media and technology began to develop more digitally, there were more outlets for companies to spread their brand, more recently YouTubers and internet ‘celebrities’ being sponsored by a range of brands. With celebrity endorsements now spread across all media platforms and the fact that media now consumes our lives, many industries including the fashion industry can now be influenced by celebrities and their popularity.

Readings:

Wigley, Stephen M. (2015) An Examination of Contemporary Celebrity Endorsement in Fashion. International Journal of Costume and Fashion, 15 (2). pp. 1-17.

Carroll, A. (2009). Brand communications in fashion categories using celebrity endorsement, Brand Management. 17(2). 146-158.

Assessment 1: Sound Project (Audio Snap-shot)

Sound has a purpose. A purpose to enhance the visualisation of what the mind is seeing, enriching the body with a variety of senses when interacting with nature. That is the approach I took to this assignment. Inspired by noise musicians such as Merzbow and Lou Reed (in particular his Metal Machine Music album), I focused on all noises that would have a purpose, not only to me, but to my conceptual piece. The different recordings I had acquired after a few visits to my location (Area 15), may have just been everyday noises and sounds, such as cars driving past or the faint noise of a lawnmower in the distance. However, when these recordings were edited through sound effects, it expressed my different ideas, such as the way sound travels through the air or how one sound can be altered in a way to be represented as something else. When these ideas came to a fruition, it had demonstrated my motive for this assignment, to give sound a purpose.

 

Hacktivism – Good vs Evil

Hackitivism has become increasingly popular over the years, with hacking groups targeting large organisations in a form of protest. Groups such as Lizard Squad and Anonymous have utilised their hacking abilities to ‘promote political ends, chiefly free speech, human rights, and information ethics.’ However, there has always been a split between whether or not hacktivism as an act considered good or evil.

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When an act of hacktivism occurs, most people usually point to Anonymous as the cause, due to their notoriety. From the church of scientology to the Australian government, Anonymous have used their resources to ensure that their goals of promoting political ends and information ethics can be achieved. Depending on perspective, one can consider this act as both good and evil. Media outlets and news corporations can see this as an opportunity to attack the group, while other members of society see this as a heroic act.

In some instances, hacktivism can become an inconvenience, again depending on who is effected by the hacktivists. For example, hacktivist group Lizard Squad, had annoyed a lot of gamers for hacking into the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live as well as PC game League of Legends. In this instance, the act of hacktivism can be seen as evil, because of the attack on things that people enjoy and use nearly everyday.

So is hacktivism good or evil? Well, it really depends on your perspective. Hacking is now considered a weapon, and like weapons, it can be used to be good or bad, to attack freedom or defend it.

Journalists and Social Media

With social media being the dominating force that is controlling the internet, many have utilised its many functions and abilities for their own mutual benefits. For some it may be promoting music, or showing the world their amazing Magret de Canard that they had for dinner with multiple hashtags saying ‘foodie’ and ‘yum.’ But for journalists, its the chance to share their work with the world, providing their opinions on issues in the world and to use as a personal space to show their more ‘human’ side.Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.48.03 pmScreen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.51.33 pm

The main focus of this article is a journalist that has been a part of my timeline for quite some time now, David Mooney. A writer for ESPN as well as his own personal blog, he promotes his variety of work, ranging from his podcasts to the articles he has written, all through a simple tweet or retweet.
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Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm

For this group of teenage boys, their serenity is a hidden place, far away from their busy social and working lives, and hidden from the rest of the world. This place is known to them as, ‘The Huts’.

When the clock strikes midnight, this quiet location becomes a hotspot for these boys, unbeknown to most of society. To one of the boys, the huts ‘becomes an initiation’ into to this brotherhood. Its when you reach ‘a certain level of knowing the boys’, thats when you are introduced to this underground, drug fuelled serenity.

Asking another one of the boys what they got up to while at the huts, their response was straight forward. “Drugs, smoking billies and getting high.” But how did this group of teenagers stumble upon this location that is unknown to their community?

Their discovery of ‘The Huts’ came from those who had previously used the location and were passing it down to the next group of teens. “Its pretty much the same for everyone,” one boy said, “someone introduces you to the Huts, you introduce the next person and it keeps on going.” While to some of the boys, it was just another weekend at ‘the Huts’, but for another it was a new experience.

“I only found out about this place last night on the bender.” The teenager had finally reached ‘that level of knowing the boys’ and was finally introduced to this hidden location.

While some of the boys were old enough to spend their Fridays and Saturdays in the city, partying until the early mornings, some were not and used the Huts to their advantage.

“When I found out about the Huts, I was under 18 so if you wanted to go hang out on Friday or Saturday night, the huts was the place to be.”

To these boys, its what the location means to them, that makes it special. “Its just the way you’re able to make new friends, one of the boys answered, while another commented on the atmosphere. “Its just so chill and everyone loves each other” he jokingly said, the other boys surrounding him, laughing and ripping into him, “you get there and its like ‘bro give me a hug.’ ”

Its this type of drug fuelled friendly environment that provides these boys with calmness and peacefulness and to these teenage boys, whose lives are fast paced and busy, ‘the Huts’ is their serenity.

https://storify.com/dimitrilignos/serenity-is-not-freedom-from-the-storm-but-peace-a

91 Riverside Drive

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One week, a lifetime of memories.

91 Riverside Drive became a symbol for friendship. A group of mates who grew up together, all together under one roof for the last time. It was a period of time where these teenagers could be teenagers one final time, without anyone to interfere. It was their last time being ‘kids’ before entering the ‘real world’.

This two story house, situated upon Lake Macquarie, fosters the memories of a group of friends and in particular, Les, who feels that this house will hold the bond together of friends that went their separate ways.

* Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

K-Popping Its Way Into Mainstream Media?

Gangnam Style. The K-pop video that took the world by storm. 2.5 billion views on YouTube, cementing itself as the most viewed YouTube video of all time. However, those 2.5 billion views just show a small glimpse into South Korea’s culture industry.

In a society that was often dominated by American and Japanese culture, South Korea began to kick into gear, becoming a competitor to the two powerful cultures that not only had an effect on Asia, but pretty much the world. However, with the mass production of films, music and TV shows, South Korea created a wave of Korean culture, overpowering America and Japan to become the most dominant cultural force in Asia.

The Korean wave is pertinent to the field of global communication studies because this cultural phenomenon is quintessentially communicative, central to a notion of shared and mediated culture as a transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbolic form and action by means of which people communicate, understand each other, and develop their new identities. – Woongjae Ryoo [1]
I have to agree with Woongjae Ryoo’s comment on the Korean media being a shared and mediated culture, as we can use subtitles to watch their movies and television shows or we can enjoy the rhythm & beat of K-pop songs without knowing the words. The Korean wave is simply communicative.
However, With American companies, such as Warner Bros and Fox, now producing Korean content, it demonstrates a prime example of ‘cultural hybridisation’. But what is cultural hybridisation?

Hybridisation of culture occurs as local cultural agents and actors interact and negotiate with global forms, using them as resources through which local peoples construct their own cultural spaces, as exemplified in the case of South Korean cinema and television dramas. Woongjae Ryoo [2]

America’s interest in Korean production companies demonstrates this process. Although it may not have a direct effect in the Korean media, it serves as a purpose to strengthen the ties between American companies and Korean producers. This may contribute to an “Americanisation period” in Korea in the near future.
One example of ‘cultural hybridisation’ is the popular entity of K-pop and in particular, PSY. The Korean pop star rose to international fame with the smash hit “Gingham Style”, which kicked off his period of ‘cultural hybridisation’. PSY, already being famous in Korea, began to introduce the English language into songs and collaborating with American artists such as Snoop Dogg. This further serves Woongjae Ryoo’s theory of developing a new identity, as PSY was considered new to the American audiences, however, has been a K-pop star since 2001.
PSY had two upsides of being a performer for both Korean and American music companies. His K-pop songs were now being  played all over the world, intriguing listeners to venture into K-pop to search for other artists and purchase k-pop albums. With his popularity in Korea, the other upside is with his songs, such as “Gentleman” and “Hangover”, that contain English lyrics. These songs give the Korean culture a chance to listen to ‘American music’  and other American artists.
America’s interest with Korean media elucidates the attempts from both American companies and Korean performers to introduce themselves to a new culture and market. This “cultural hybridisation” furthers Ryoo’s theory of the Korean wave being pertinent to the field of global communication studies.
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References
[1] Woongjae Ryoo (2009) Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave, Asian Journal of Communication, 19:2, 137-151
[2] Woongjae Ryoo (2009) Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave, Asian Journal of Communication, 19:2, 137-151

Transnational Film – Crouching Tiger and the Hidden Dragon

American films have a massive viewing all over the world, except for one country. India. That’s right. Indian film fans would rather flock to see the latest Bollywood hit than watch one that was produced in Hollywood. Hollywood only accounts for less than 10 percent of India’s box office revenue. When this is compared to China, whose box office revenue is 60 percent from Hollywood, we ask ourselves why is that so?

The difference between China and India, in terms of Hollywood’s ‘interference’ in their film industry, is the fact that Chinese producers can’t target the right audience for their films. This is usually the result of “top Chinese producers trying to compete with Hollywood with big-budget costume dramas.” These dramas aren’t what the audience are looking for anymore, making this strategy struggling to be successful. Hence why Chinese film fans would rather see the next Hollywood blockbuster than a local film.

In India, the film industry is separated to target local audiences with different local languages. The films are different between each local language, with each language having a local theme to the target audience.

China are now going through a period of “Bollywoodisation” of their own, and along with India, are beginning to have large amounts of revenue in the box office. So could we see these countries take control of global film flows from America?

This really comes down to the ability of these countries to undergo ‘cultural hybridisation’ with Western culture, in order to gain the attention of the Western world’s audience. China have been doing this for some time, with actors such as Bruce Lee, Ang Lee and Jackie Chan, being involved in ‘cultural hybrid movies’. These movies would contain sequences of martial arts and Wuxang narratives that are ‘flattened… cultural markers’ (Curtin, 2007: 289).

The success of America’s highest-grossing foreign language film – Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (released in 2000), which earned $128 million – was attributed to hybridization, resulting in ‘an Eastern movie for Western audiences, and … a Western movie for Eastern audiences’ (Lagerkvist, 2009: 370).

‘Cultural hybridisation’ in Indian films would contribute to the success of Bollywood in North America, as seen in 2008 “Slumdog Millionaire” where its cultural references connected with the audience, becoming a huge success. However, little to they realise the film was actually co-produced by a UK production company. Hence why the cultural references where easier to understand for North American audiences.

David J. Schaefer and Kavita Karan discuss another reason why Bollywood is beginning to have an effect on North America.

The content of popular Hindi cinema itself has undergone profound transformations in the years since India’s economic liberalisation in 1991. A Westernised shift in the content of popular Hindi films, which ironically may have contributed to heightened American sensitivity to and labelling of any film set in India as a ‘Bollywood’ film.

Chinese and Indian films may very well take control of global film flows from America. This will only happen however, if Chinese and Bollywood films continue to use “cultural hybridisation” in order to continue an increase in North American audiences.

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References

Curtin, M. (2007) Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lagerkvist, J. (2009) ‘Global Media for Global Citizenship in India and China’, Peace Review 23: 367–75.

Schaefer, D. Karan, K. (2010) Problematizing Chindia : Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows. Sage Publications